Pollinator parks approved for City

  • May. 27, 2015 3:24 p.m.

City council’s approval of a new initiative is the bees’ knees.

Council voted in favour of supporting the dedication and promotion of four Red Deer parks as dedicated pollinator parks, including City Hall Park, Snell Gardens, Bower Ponds and Maskepetoon Park.

Sites were chosen using a number of principles that guide service levels and permitted uses for parks in Red Deer. These principles include such considerations as environmental/ecological protection, protecting our history, park development and service levels, public access and park uses, existing design and function, and innovation and change. Each site includes habitat, pollen sources, interpretive access, and pesticide limitations. Interpretive signage will be installed to describe the unique features and care taken to protect and promote pollinators at each location.

“The City is doing excellent things in our parks system and we want to highlight those efforts and share our knowledge with residents and agricultural enterprises,” said Trevor Poth, parks superintendent. “Many of our tactics can be easily incorporated into private yards of residents to help promote healthy areas for pollinators to live.”

The dedication of pollinator parks will provide opportunities to preserve and enhance pollinator habitat; celebrate the successful initiatives that protect pollinator species within Red Deer’s park system; and raise awareness regarding the importance of protecting pollinators. Native pollinators include bumblebees, butterflies, wasps, moths, flies, beetles, hummingbirds and bats.

Meanwhile, council also approved a new pesticide policy Monday afternoon.

The City will continue to reduce its use of pesticides on City-owned and maintained public lands with City council approving a policy on the cosmetic use of pesticides.

The approved policy limits the use of pesticides to control nuisance weeds except within performance sports fields; within Class A sports fields and no closer than 30m from a play structure or school; within arterial roadways; noxious and prohibited noxious weeds as identified in the Provincial Weed Control Act; in mulched tree wells and shrub beds; on concrete, aggregate, asphalt or similar surfaces; to control rodents; and to control nuisance insects.

The policy also addresses the need to continue exploring and testing methods of weed control that do not rely on pesticides as per the City’s Environmental Master Plan.

“We aim reduce the use of pesticides while controlling noxious weeds and dandelions in our community,” said Poth. “We believe this policy strikes the right balance by enabling us to minimize the use of pesticides all while ensuring the beauty of our parks and health of our turf.”

All pesticides used within the City of Red Deer are approved for safe use by Health Canada.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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